‘Miracle’ started with a koozie: Bluffton teen survives bizarre encounter with stingrayBY LISA WILSON
The expression “timing is everything” couldn’t be more true for Levi Dixon, a Bluffton 18-year-old who had an unusual – and nearly fatal – encounter with a stingray last weekend.
Dixon, who works for Sea Monkeys Watersports on Hilton Head Island, was riding a Jet Ski in Skull Creek on Saturday afternoon when a large ray leaped out of the water, hitting him in the face and knocking him unconscious.
Just before the accident, McDaniel said a koozie flew out of the back of their boat, so they turned around to pick it up. That put them in just the right place to help Dixon, who might have drowned otherwise.
McDaniel said the ray was big. He estimated it was about 4 feet wide and at least 30 pounds.
McDaniel jumped into the water and held Dixon upright while Whipple called 911. When another boater came by, they were able to get Dixon onboard and delivered him to EMTs waiting at a nearby dock.
“If that koozie wouldn’t have flown out,” McDaniel said. “… It’s a miracle he’s alive.”
Dixon said he doesn’t have any memory of the accident.
“I just remember going out on one of the skis to help with some customers that were falling behind,” he said. “ … and that was the last thing I remember, and I woke up in Hilton Head Hospital.”
Dixon’s encounter with the ray left him with two broken ribs, bruised lungs and swelling of his brain.
He was transferred to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah and was discharged Monday.
David Lucas, spokesman for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, confirmed that the agency responded to the scene of the accident Saturday.
Lucas said one of the responding officers, 1st Sgt. Adam Henderson, told him he had not seen an accident like this one in 13 years of water patrols.
However, Henderson told him there are more rays in near-shore waters off Hilton Head during the spring and summer, and they frequently jump out of the water.
“I guess it’s just very long odds that one would jump at the exact right time to impact a boater,” Lucas said.
Dixon, who is part of a competitive tumbling and cheerleading squad, said he hopes his recovery won’t take more than a few weeks. Doctors told him he should be able to ease back into his normal activities once he’s pain-free.
The fact that he survived a nearly fatal experience isn’t lost on him. “It was definitely a miracle,” he said.
A STINGRAY ESTIMATED TO BE ABOUT 4 FEET WIDE AND AT LEAST 30 POUNDS LEAPED OUT OF THE WATER, HITTING THE TEEN IN THE FACE AND KNOCKING HIM UNCONSCIOUS.
Good for him and the folks who picked him up. The Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee river valleys have Asian carp in them now. They grow to be 30 ~ 50 lbs very quickly. They school near the top of the water and are not bottom feeders. They leap, en masse, into the air when startled often killing the boater who scared them as he speeds by. It has now become a red neck sport where we get crossbows and hockey gear then cruise through the school quickly to cause them to leap whereupon they are shot or bashed into the boat.
What the heck is a "koozie"?
Bee, I think a Koozie is the foam thingy that people put their canned or bottled beverages in to help keep them cool.
Now we know why women can’t be priests. 😆
As if poisonous vipers and alligators were not enough to contend with down there! I would say to stick with the swimming pool, but after seeing the story of a pool in Utah where swimmers got sick because of a machine malfunction (too much chlorine), maybe that is not such a good recommendation either!
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